Daly Laurence


Laurence Daly

Laurence Daly was born in Fife on 20 October 1924; his father, James Daly, a miner, was a foundation member of the Communist Party, and victimised from working the pits from the 1926 General Strike until 1938. Laurence Daly himself began work as a miner at Glencraig colliery in 1939. His mother, Janet, was a Scottish Presbyterian; she once recalled that Jimmy's black-listing by the Fife Coal Company meant that the family, with nine children, had been thrown out of the company house 15 times!

Laurence left school at 14, went to work down the local pit at Glencraig and joined the Young Communist League (YCL).  Daly became active in the miners' union from an early age and, in 1945, represented the British TUC on an international youth delegation to Moscow and chaired the Youth Committee of the Scottish TUC.  Another delegate was his future wife, Renee. In 1946 the Scottish area NUM published his pamphlet `A Young Miner Sees Russia’. In 1949 he chaired the NUM's Scottish Youth Committee. At Glencraig colliery he held a number of lay union offices, including branch delegate, and was the Workmen's Safety Inspector there, from 1954-64.


From 1940 to 1956, Daly was an active member of the Communist Party, although he later claimed to have begun to have serious differences from the very late 1940s.


Jimmy Daly, his father died in 1949 and, from Jan to Oct 1951, Lawrence Daly worked as full time agent for the Party in West Fife and was also a council local government candidate. But he left the Party in August 1956, after proposing that the Party dissolve itself, a little before others did the same over events in Hungary.

In 1957 Daly founded the Fife Socialist League and in the general election of 1959 he contested the West Fife constituency as a Fife Socialist League candidate, polling around 10% of the vote. In May 1958 he was elected a County Councillor for the Ballingry division, but his League disbanded in 1964 and Daly joined the Labour Party.

Daly was elected to the National Union of Mineworkers Scottish Area EC in 1962, in 1963, the full time agent for the Fife, Clackmannan and Stirling District and, in 1965, General Secretary of the Scottish Area NUM. In 1965 he became a national executive member of NUM.


He joined the Bertrand Russell war crimes tribunal, set up to investigate the reported US atrocities in Vietnam, alongside the likes of Jean-Paul Sartre, James Baldwin, Simone de Beauvoir and Isaac Deutscher. He visited North Vietnam and Auschwitz. 


A 1969 surveillance snap of Daly with Bert Ramelson (see separate entry), the Communist Party's influential Industrial Organiser. MI5 noted how Daly, although now out of the Party, still seemed to take its lead on trade union affairs, although characteristically preferring to always meet in a pub!. 


In 1968, Daly beat Joe Gormley in the election for the National Union of Mineworkers General Secretaryship. Following a serious road accident in 1975, had prolonged leave of absence. His brother and sister-in-law were killed in the same crash. In 1984, having retired, he settled in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, but spent the last 10 years of his life in a nursing home in Luton and died on 23rd May 2009.

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